What: The German Pancake
Where: Elmer’s, 1030 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
How much: $10.29; $12.29 as a combo
Contact: 760-327-8419; eatatelmers.com
Why: It’s a fantastic sweet breakfast.
Not too long ago, I ordered the German pancake at Elmer’s Restaurant. One of my dining companions was, well, actually German—and he was baffled.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing before,” he said, pointing to the huge, thin, pan-shaped concoction on my plate topped with lemon, butter and powdered sugar.
He was baffled for good reason: Turns out the German pancake is not very German after all. While the dish is derived from Pfannkuchen, the Internet tells me this dish—also called a “Dutch baby pancake”—was actually invented in Washington state sometime early last century. (Google says Wikipedia says Sunset magazine said it, so, um, it must be true?)
Regardless of the German pancake’s genesis, the fact remains: The thing is damn tasty. It’s part-pancake, part-crepe, part-souffle, and works well as a breakfast or as a dessert. While Elmer’s offers fruit toppings to go with the pancake for an extra buck, I like to keep it simple and stick with the original lemon and butter.
Don’t be fooled by the pancake’s size: It’s big yet paper-thin, so it’s light and not at all too filling. That’s why I ordered mine as pictured: as part of a combo with eggs and sausage.
The pancake is not the only thing Elmer’s does well; the Palm Springs outpost of the chain—which includes more than two dozen restaurants, all of which are in the Pacific Northwest except for the local one—is always busy during breakfast hours, and is a perennial winner or finalist in the various local Best Of competitions.
If Elmer’s is not in your regular breakfast rotation (or, for that matter, your lunch or dinner rotation), consider adding it to the list. And consider ordering a German pancake while you’re there.